Meditative Art Retreat

Meditative Art Retreat. November 3rd – 10th 2018


My next art retreat/workshop will be in a beautiful bohemian rustic mountain farmhouse in Orgiva, Las Alpujarras in southern Spain.  One of the most beautiful locations I have ever seen.  The accommodation is in traditional Alpujarran style, with solar-powered hot water, with the most amazing views and a wood burning stove for warmth in the evenings if needed.  The accommodation comprises three bedrooms:  one double room, a room with two single bunk beds, and a room with single bed, so places are limited, as this arrangement sleeps five people.  It would be great for a group of friends coming together.

Cost for the week: £350 (GBP.) Includes accommodation at the farm house, all art materials, tuition, and a guided walk with me. Also includes breakfast and lunch.

I am also offering this workshop for people local to Orgiva, at a cost of 140 Euros per person for the week, or 20 Euros per day if you can’t do all week. The house is along the Rio Chico, about five or ten minutes drive.

If the farmhouse gets fully booked, you may wish to book your own accommodation, ( I can recommend various places nearby,) and just pay me the 140 Euros for the week’s workshop.

The weather is often sunny and warm in November, with cooler evenings.   For people staying at the farmhouse, the retreat includes breakfast, provided by Rita at the farmhouse, including cereal, muesli, toast, juice, teas and coffees, and also lunch will be provided. Supper will be self-catered, and there is a fully equipped kitchen.  The nearby town of Orgiva (a short walk away,)  has lots of cafes, bars, shops, health food shop, supermarkets, and a Sufi cafe restaurant called Baraka, and other restaurants.  There is also a colourful weekly outdoor  market which sells all kinds of food, art, crafts and clothes.   There are lots of beautiful walks to be taken locally and I know of many beautiful walking routes and will be happy to take anyone who wishes to come along with me as part of the retreat, one afternoon.  A particular favourite walk of mine is from Ferreirola to Busquitar, up in the higher mountains, and where there are spring waters from fuentes coming out of the rocks from the higher Sierras.  Some of them are effervescent, others iron-rich. The water is said to bestow great healing and health-giving properties.  The walk in the mountains goes past threshing floors, with lots of fascinating folklore, and there is a rarefied and magical energy in that area unlike anything I have ever experienced.

We will be painting together.  All tuition and art materials will be provided by me.  The painting classes will be based on my practice of meditative art in the lovely art studio.  We will be painting for approximately four to five hours per day.  Space is limited.  This retreat is for up to six people.  Depending on the weather, we will be painting either indoors or outdoors and the space will be set up as an art studio, with all materials provided.

Contact me via the contact form above.


Email: to register an interest.


I will teaching how to paint a self-portrait as our symbolic / mystic-self.  I will be offering meditative, gentle guidance, setting intentions, using guided meditations, knowing the painting as a secular prayer. Painting modern iconography. Teaching my own techniques: the methods I use such as painting my birds, or other spirit animals, how to paint a face, a figure, light and shade, a symbolic landscape, glazing, colour washes, pattern, how to bring forms forward or push them back through glazes, using under-painting through abstracted techniques, adding white, or leaving white space, using words as under-painting too. Techniques such as glazing, dry brush work, stippling, acrylic pen-work, detailing, and stenciling. Working from my favourite themes: Iconography, Goddess archetypes, the Divine Feminine, Jungian archetypes, symbolism, mysticism, metaphysical art, shamanic and alchemical totems, sacred geometry, pattern, ornament, process and intuitive painting.
For me, there must always be the still-point. The point where you find the zone, where the painting is painting itself through you as the conduit. Or you come to a point where there is a deep meditation.  This is my intention in my art practice and in teaching.
Accommodation, breakfast and lunch, painting in the studio, tuition and guidance, art materials,  a guided walk in the mountains included in the cost.

Cost doesn’t include flights or car-hire. This retreat is self-catered for supper, so we will make trips to local supermarkets for food.   For evening meals, there are several restaurants and cafes, and all the food shops and markets in the nearby town of Orgiva, just a short walk or drive away.  The kitchen is fully equipped.  Orgiva is a lively, alternative  and fascinating town; full of shops, a Sufi cafe called Baraka, health food shops, a colourful weekly outdoor market, with bars and cafes.  If you do not wish to hire a car, transport to and from the retreat can be arranged (£100 GBP.)

The places are limited and we can accommodate up to five people.  If you are coming with friends, the set up is ideal,  as there is a little self contained house, with outdoor seating with beautiful views, three bedrooms; one double, one single, and one with bunk beds, a sitting room, with two sofas and wood burning stove, kitchen and bathroom.  The loos are slightly away from the house outside, and are eco-compost loos, with amazing views and feel very clean to use. with a sink and soap.  There is a organic garden with fresh vegetables kept by a resident gardener.

The large studio where we will be painting is a couple of minutes walk from the house.

To register an interest, please use the contact form or email me:



Cost £350 (GBP)  for people wanting to stay at the farmhouse, and 140 Euros per week, or 20 Euros per day, for those people living nearby and local to Orgiva.

Cost for the week includes accommodation at the farm house, breakfast and lunch, all art materials, tuition, and a guided walk with me.

The house is along the Rio Chico, about five or ten minutes drive.

If the farmhouse gets fully booked, you may wish to book your own accommodation, ( I can recommend various places nearby,) and just pay me the 140 Euros for the week’s workshop.



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It is before familiarity sets in that we are most alive and porous to our environment, our relationships, and even ourselves. If you’ve ever gone travelling with a backpack, you’re familiar with this magic. Travelling where we don’t know anyone, or how to get about, we are forced into complete unfamiliarity. Though part of us is impatient to have community and anchors in place, this clumsy period is full of potential. We could reinvent ourselves or meet different kinds of people outside of our habitual type. Now imagine that we could be symbolic travellers every day of our lives by becoming friendly with the awkwardness of all that is unresolved in our hearts.

Toko-pa Turner.

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It’s not often my great friends are here when I am, but yesterday two of my dearest ones and their son were in Malaga for a couple of days. We met at the beach, at a beachside restaurant and sat and ate, drank and swam. R is like a child-man, although tall and exceptionally handsome, he is wild and enthusiastic, with mad uncombed hair and shoes in shreds, with a spontaneity I have rarely seen.. B is beautiful, empathetic, fiery, loving and makes me laugh til i cry. On the beach, R went on a giant inflatable bouncy thing with his son for an hour, bought beer from every passing African salesman, and a massage from a Chinese masseuse.

I drove them back to their B and B near the airport and got lost in an industrial estate for half an hour. It was dark by now, so when i found the Autovia, I took the one sign-posted Cordoba Granada Seville, as in my haste to return to my mountains and self-imposed semi exile, I thought that would surely be right. It wasn’t. I drove through high mountains for a very long time but gradually Granada drew nearer. I stopped at a services to go to the loo and buy water. When i got out of the car a whole family of muslims were sleeping on cardboard on the ground, with a huge tarpaulin roof rack with all their possessions. I looked at the mother and little children laying there and the mother had her arm outstretched on the floor, palm upturned. I wasn’t sure if she was silently asking me for money as the gesture was so subtle. In the restaurant loo were beautiful teenage girls with their mother in traditional dress, with bare feet and uncombed hair. The dresses were colourful silks and long to their ankles. I couldn’t place their clothes, but could only think perhaps Afghanistani. I emptied my purse of change and thought I would give the money to the family by the car, but when i returned they were no longer looking at me, and the mother’s palm not upturned, and i was not sure if giving them money unmprompted would offend, so I didn’t give. I now wish i had as no doubt they were refugees and the awkwardness was only a typical British fear on my part of doing the wrong thing. The night was hot and still, filled with a peace and sadness of displacement and resignation. By the time i got to my car, another Muslim family were laying down mats on the ground. In my weary state I assembled the image slowly and realised they were praying. Spain seemed even more mysterious and full of people moving slowly through the landscape, to a hoped-for new life, laying down to pray and sleep in a service station car park somewhere in the mountains of a hot night at 11 pm. More longing and belonging. Or longing to belong. I missed my son and daughter and the constancy of N, whose intransigence sometimes frustrates me, but he knows the value and importance of home.

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Belonging and longing are strange bedfellows. They seem to coexist within me throughout my life..

Maybe it’s because of my nomadic childhood with restless parents, but nevertheless they are there like guests in the house of my being, and somehow these mountains are some kind of metaphor for the containment within something larger, yet protective, and the adventures within. The discovering each little nuance from village to village; each so similar and yet so different, like each little bend in the road. The longing for adventure and time alone. The belonging and not belonging to a place, so familiar yet so alien.

Difficult to write on a phone keyboard, but thoughts that need expanding perhaps later.

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A town which was once a place of witches and magic and now a strange juxtaposition of Disneyesque tourist statues, witches, magic water, said to bestow fertility and aphrodisiac properties, (delivered from a penis fuente of a green dragon,) religious Madonnas, yarn-bombed trees, a church and waterfalls.

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Know Thyself

A Greek philosopher once said. Easier said than done, or perhaps it was because he was a man, devoid of the vicissitudes and fluctuations of womanhood. Pondering on the rhythm of separation and attachment and only knowing true belonging which arises from distance.

I have been here a week. At first ecstatic from the feeling of freedom and the simplicity of choosing my own direction even for the shortest of time.. No expectations, choosing when to get up, and greet the dawn, just me and a mountainside. Painting all day, choosing only to eat peaches for dinner. Lying in bed listening to cicadas. A thunderstorm and just me in my underwear, a mountain, lightening and rain. Quite ecstatic. In fact, so happy, I didn’t notice that the place i was staying was idyllic in one sense but also hopping with fleas, and the beams above my head slowly being eaten by creatures (some kind of insect or grub with huge teeth,) day in, day out. Apparently very common in Spain. The sound is almost as bad as someone loudly eating crisps in the seat behind at the cinema!

So, I have moved on to a friend’s house next to the Rio Chico. Thankfully clean, light and made of concrete..

Then a phone call home and the sound of my son’s voice has me in floods. How is it possible to love so much? Just ask a mother.

The heat is intensely draining and I don’t have my usual energy.. Tomorrow, as they say, is another day.

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Details of images I’m working on.

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The wonder years should last a lifetime..




“Be wary of any influence in your environment which dismisses or judges your enthusiasm. Without it, we would become anaesthetised to life itself. Anyone who demands this smallness of you is in danger themselves and may have contracted this insidious, deadening monotone. Enthusiasm is the vitality of spirit expressing itself through us and its grace in our voice should be welcomed and cherished. The word originates in the early 17th century, from the Greek enthousiasmos meaning ‘possessed by god.’ Now, more than ever, the world needs your enlargement, your weirdness, your fiery crescendos of rebellion from boring.”
.Toko-pa Turner, Belonging: Remembering Ourselves Home (

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Hotter than July

Some photos from this sultry and very hot month in Sussex, including a rocking horse tree very near to my house, the Love Supreme Festival in Glynde,  Pett Level beach, a Brighton sea gull and rose bay willow herb growing in the woods.

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